Financial feasibility of irrigated farming: a case study of tube-well irrigation in Mombasa district

No Thumbnail Available
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
Whereas some studies have evaluated large-scale irrigation schemes in Kenya, little economic research has been done on the Minor Irrigation projects. Government to increase emphasis on development of Minor Irrigation Schemes necessitates studies on these particularly from the financial and economic standpoint. Tube-wells are part of the minor irrigation development programme in Coast Province which is characterized by a general shortage of big rivers and streams. This shortage of surface water in the Province in particular and generally in the republic had been realised even during the colonial days. Government effort has been carried out mainly by construction of tube-wells, which progressed steadily so that by the early I970s avers 80 tube-wells were being bored annually by the Kenya Government. The substantial costs involved in this tube-well development were justified by the fact that the projects were undertaken by the Government or the municipality for community water development. As such boring of tube-wells was restricted to the community centres only. Unfortunately most of these tube-wells especially those in Coast Province were abandoned when no personnel was available to maintain them. A survey of the area between Gazi and Mtwapa in Coast Province in 1969 to study the distribution of tube-wells, their yields, and water quality rated this as "a good area of groundwater resources". It was recommended in this report that same elected tube-wells which were yielding considerable quantities of good quality water should be rehabilitated and fitted with powered pumps for the purpose of irrigation and domestic water supply. This recommendation was not implemented because information was lacking concerning their financial viability as irrigation projects. This thesis is therefore concerned with evaluation and appraisal of tube-well irrigation projects in Mombasa District to establish their financial worth. Mombasa District was selected for the study on account of the concentration of tube wells. The focus of the thesis involved collection of primary data from a sample of 10 farms using each diesel and electric pumps. Irrigated farming is capital and labour intensive. High initial investment capital is required to start-off a tube well irrigation project. Because of the high costs involved in supplying irrigation water, only crops with high gross margins per hectare can be grown profitably. The study revealed that tube-well irrigation farming based on high-value horticultural crops can be a highly profitable venture if properly designed and planned. Knowledge of the important factors affecting returns is invaluable. A high degree of managerial ability, innovativeness and first-hand market intelligence and knowledge of irrigation techniques is indispensable for successful irrigation. In spite of the high investment and running costs involved in tube-wells irrigation projects, they are financially viable and yield high rates of return to investment and internal rates of return.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS WRE TD365.J67)
Agriculture, Irrigation, Kenya
Thiongo, M. N. (1978) Financial feasibility of irrigated farming: a case study of tube-well irrigation in Mombasa district, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at